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Optimizing Engagement in Services for First-Episode Psychosis (FEP) in the Community Mental Health Setting

Department: Psychology

Faculty Member: Maria Santos

Topic or Area of Interest: mental health service use, serious mental illness

Description: The Santos Laboratory in the Department of Psychology at California State University San Bernardino (CSUSB) invites applications for part-time independent raters (henceforth, raters). Raters are objective judges who produce ratings using an assessment instrument based on observational data like therapy session recordings. Raters will work on a National Institue of Mental Health-funded project conducted by Dr. Maria Santos, Assistant Professor and study Primary Investigator (PI). The project is ultimately designed to help optimize engagement in mental health services among Latinos with first-episode psychosis (FEP) and their families. The project has three aims: (1) to evaluate the effectiveness of an empirically-supported intervention, behavioral activation (BA) in the community mental health setting, (2) examine mediators of engagement, and (3) develop a model of engagement to guide future research. Raters will generate data that will help address 1 and 2 based on observations of recorded therapy sessions of Latinos with FEP and their primary caregivers.

Raters will work on one of two subprojects. On one project, raters will provide ratings of engagement in services and homework completion by Latinos with FEP based on the Service Engagement Scale and Behavioral Activation Homework Completion system, respectively. In addition, raters will rate family presence in the therapy session. On another project, raters will assess therapist’s fidelity to the treatment manual using the Quality of Behavioral Activation Scale. Raters will be trained by the PI using real therapy sessions from a previously conducted BA trial. There are two phases to each project – training and ratings of study data. After a period of training, the PI will statistically assess whether there is consensus between raters. If there is consensus between the PI and a given rater’s data, the rater can proceed to the next phase of the project.

Raters must have excellent Spanish and English language skills as therapy sessions may occur in Spanish. Attention to detail, ability to work effectively independently, strong communication skills, and openness to asking questions are desired qualities in raters. A two academic-year commitment is preferred (four semesters). A commitment of an academic year and a half will be considered (three semesters). These positions are well-suited for students pursuing graduate education in clinical psychology, counseling, or a related field, or with an interest in applied research

Looking for Research Assistant: Yes

Funding Type: Federal Workstudy

Earliest Graduation Date:

Role of Student: Student researchers have the potential to participate in a range of activities. These include IRB submission preparation, data processing and entry, database management, brief phone assessments, data analysis (qualitative and quantitative), writing, coding (generation of observer-based data), presentations, and other activities that support the project. Some activities require excellent Spanish and English speaking and writing abilities. Activities will vary depending on the stage of the project.

Currently, student researchers with excellent Spanish and English abilities are needed for a coding project. Coders will observe (listen to) therapy sessions and make ratings of client homework completion, therapist adherence to the treatment manual, and family involvement in care. Student researchers will train with the Primary Investigator (PI; Santos). Trainees will proceed to coding contingent on achieving reliability with the PI.

Opportunity Type: Research Assistant

Is this Position Paid?: Yes

Hourly Rate: $13/hour

Days: Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday

Eligibility Requirements: Overall GPA


Eligibility Requirements: Discipline(s)

Required GPA: 3.4

Required Discipline: applied psychology or related fields (e.g., sociology, public health, social work)

Qualifications: For the coding project, excellent English and Spanish abilities are required.

How to Apply: Submit application onto Handshake at Students must check with financial aid to see if they qualify for Federal Workstudy (FWS) before applying. Mandatory FWS training will be required.